The Tyrant's Beloved Doll - Chapter 112
The soldiers placed the Archmage’s body and his dismembered limbs on display in front of the temple.
Unfortunately, the priests who worked at the temple had no choice but to see the dead Archmage since it was the Emperor’s order. While staring at the body, some priests wept while others instantly fainted.
One priest who had devoutly followed the Archmage cried out, saying this was impossible, then he suddenly disappeared from the Palace after being dragged away by soldiers.
After that, no one dared to speak out against the Emperor due to their bodies trembling in fear.
Even after the terrible death of the Archmage, the temple still could not find peace. It started with Philip, who suddenly appeared with some soldiers. He asked for the temple’s blueprints and demanded an old priest guide him through every nook and cranny of the temple. Of course, this was all done under the Emperor’s order.
They scoured everywhere, including the underpass beneath the temple. But there seemed to be no results.
The old priest questioned what they were looking for, but he received no reply.
A week had passed since Sezh spent time in the garden with Raytan.
He seemed very busy. Whether Sezh was lucky or unfortunate, Raytan didn’t visit her even at night. Instead, Philip came every morning and night, asking if anything had happened and what Sezh did with her time. Sezh thought that Raytan had a very meticulous personality. It’s been some time since the coup, but he still cared for her like this.
Then, around midafternoon another week later, Raytan came.
Sezh worriedly noticed Raytan’s mood not just because he talked less than usual. Honestly, Raytan looked normal on the outside. However, he seemed to have lost some weight.
From Kaen, Sezh heard the news about the horrible death of the Archmage and the state of his body.
‘It wasn’t something unexpected, but…’
During Raytan’s coronation, the Archmage did not even show his face. Needless to say, even if he had appeared, Raytan was a great man who wore the crown with his own hands. But, there was a difference between the Archmage attending or not because such actions indicated the Archmage’s rejection of the new emperor.
Sezh tried calling him carefully, but Raytan didn’t reply. He seemed deeply lost in thought.
Sezh silently fiddled with the book on the table.
Thinking strange rumors might be circulating, Sezh prepared this book first. She took it from the library where she and Raytan always had lessons, and she’d only just found it now. In that vast library, there was only one book in Kazaki.
If someone asks, ‘Why does His Majesty the Emperor keep visiting Princess Sezh?’, she will use Kazaki as an excuse.
Of course, she knew it wasn’t a very believable excuse, but it was better than nothing.
Sezh hesitated and sneakily looked at Raytan.
“Brother. I… I’m not sure what this means….”
Raytan automatically turned his head to look at Sezh.
“H-Here, right here. I don’t quite understand…”
To be frank, it was half a lie and half a truth. At a glance, it looked like a sentence about wind and fire. If Sezh went through the dictionary, she would be able to interpret it to some extent by herself.
Still, she asked Raytan to translate it because his silence bothered her.
“Give it to me.”
Raytan lightly took the book from Sezh’s hand and began reading the text slowly.
“… ‘Those with magical powers fall into two categories. The Chosen and the Unchosen.’”
Sezh widened her eyes slightly. Was it a book about magic? Of all things…
“’In the latter case, the Unchosen are slightly more special than ordinary people, but they cannot fully materialize magical powers. However, the Chosen are not the same.’”
‘Then… What am I?’ Sezh blinked at her blooming curiosity.
“’The Chosen are magical prodigies able to control water, wind, and the earth. The greatest of them all…’”*
“’…are the ones who control fire like it’s a part of their body.’”
“All power is connected to blood and bloodlines. Some people have exerted their power through a medium other than blood, but evidence remains only as word of mouth, and no one can determine the source of this information. All the Chosen are called children of God.”
When the passage finished, Raytan returned the book to Sezh. Sezh looked bewildered while receiving the book.
‘Am I a child of God? But Mother and His Majesty were both humans. If so, am I one of those cases where they can’t ‘determine out the source’?’
“I didn’t know you were interested in such things.”
“You said you were writing letters to Mathias Kareem.”
‘What’s with the question?’
… Sezh thought about it, but she still couldn’t figure out why Raytan was asking such a thing.
Did he ask that only out of pure curiosity?
She and Mathias continued to exchange correspondence. However, it wasn’t as often as it used to be because Mathias had become very busy. She didn’t want to bother him, so Sezh and Matthias only exchanged letters once or twice a week.
“Uh… We don’t talk to each other that often these days.”
“Just to catch up… and like- what we’re doing recently… Oh, and I also have to take care of the garden you gave me, so I don’t have much free time….”
Raytan was silent for a moment. Did she say something wrong? Sezh hesitated, then looked up at Raytan. She became stunned without realizing it.
Raytan’s previously hardened face had slightly loosened.
“How is gardening going? I heard you’ve been there a few times.”
“Ah, I was just discussing with Kaen. Spring is coming soon, right? The snow has started to melt…”
“The garden is already extraordinarily beautiful now, but… I think it would be nice to plant spring flowers.”
“Yeah. That would be nice too.”
“Yes! I will let you know when I’ve finished the makeover.”
Raytan nodded, signaling his understanding, then spoke again.
“The snow has melted, and the lake too.”
“Shall we go get some fresh air, Sezh?”
Sezh kept her puzzled look.
“I heard from Philip. Except for visiting the garden, you are always in your palace. So it would be good to get some fresh air for a while.”
It was noon at the time. If anyone sees them…
“If you’re thinking about other people, stop,” Raytan firmly stated.
Perhaps he read her mind already. Raytan got up from his seat and gestured for Sezh to place her hand in his.
“You don’t like it?”
“No, it’s not like that.”
“Then that’s all that matters.”
Before she could say anything, Raytan grabbed Sezh’s hand.
It was quiet near the lake.
Raytan had prepared in advance, and the servants were all dismissed. Philip was the only one standing on the shore.
It was a small boat that Sezh and Raytan rode. Although it was small, the vessel was so densely studded with fingernail-sized jewels that it was dazzling whenever it swayed in the waves.
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“Is it not to your liking?”
“What? No! It’s not like that… I just think this is a bit hard for you.”
Sezh’s gaze turned to Raytan’s hands. She enjoyed a priceless blessing: a boat rowed by no one else but the Emperor of Denhelder.
“Shall I help as well? I’m strong too…”
Instead of answering, Raytan frowned a little.
“I thought a small boat would be better than a big one.”
“If the boat’s big, we would have to sit far away from each other.”
‘Is that so?’ Sezh suddenly recalled the boat that Lillian, Bern, and the late Emperor enjoyed riding.
Well, this was better than that large boat. If Raytan and Sezh had taken such a boat, they would require more rowers.
… And, of course, it will be difficult for Raytan.
“I think winter is over,” said Sezh as she scrutinized their surroundings.
The lake had thawed, and the wind was not that cold anymore. Spring was about to come.
Sezh didn’t expect she would have another spring in the Imperial Palace. While looking at the sunset, Sezh mulled it over.
“The sunset is so beautiful, isn’t it?”
“… The sunset?”
“It’s as red and beautiful as Brother’s eyes,” Sezh smiled softly.
Looking at Sezh, Raytan then raised his head and studied the sky.
The faint setting sun fell on his sculptured face. Sezh couldn’t help but stare at those long and thick eyelashes, not to mention his high nose bridge.
The red sky reflected inside his crimson eyes looked as mesmerizing as a picture.
Regardless, it was strange. What’s with the sorrowful stare Raytan had? On that note, Raytan had been sitting with that expression and hadn’t said a word since earlier.
After taking a long time to organize her thoughts, Sezh carefully parted her lips.
“Brother, perhaps… something is bothering you?”
“…Does it look like that? In your eyes, I…”
Raytan looked at Sezh quietly. Sezh subsequently nodded her head a little.
“You’re weird, Sezh.”
“Everyone is afraid of me. So why are my burdens only visible to your eyes?”
“You said you were scared of me too.”
Was he trying to reprimand her? Sezh awkwardly avoided Raytan’s gaze, and silence fell again.
After a long time passed and no words were exchanged, Sezh’s gaze turned to Raytan again. He still had a desolate look on his face. A face that somehow looked grim and confused.
“I… Apart from that, I don’t like it when you’re having a hard time.”
“I wish there always will be something for you to smile about.”
Sezh squeezed out some more courage.
“I don’t know about the others… but I think Brother’s smiling face is so cool.”
Hasn’t he been through a lot of hardships until now? It was a feeling separate from the fear she felt. Sezh still hoped that Raytan wouldn’t get hurt or sad.
… Even if he’s a man not related by blood to her.
“So you can tell me anything. Whatever it may be. Of course, I don’t know how to do anything, and I can’t be of much help…”
“…Who said that?”
Sezh faltered. It was because Raytan’s hand suddenly brushed her cheek and then cupped it.
“Being like this is already enough for me.”
Sezh now had a blank expression on her face.
“Just being by your side, I….”
‘Just being by my side… What?…’
Sezh’s looked a little bewildered.
Then, they heard a thump and suddenly felt a vibration run through the boat.
“I-I think something is wrong.”
Suddenly taken back to reality, Sezh shook her head and bowed over the edge to peek under the boat.
“It’s dangerous, Sezh. Come here.”
“No, wait, there’s something down there…”
At the bottom of the dark lake, something moved. Sezh squinted.
There was ice holding the boat. It grew in a straight line like a rope from the bottom of the lake.
This was something inconceivable: do lakes freeze in this kind of way?
“Brother, something is wrong…!”
And at that moment, the water rose like a fountain and hit Sezh’s body.
Sezh lost her balance and plunged into the lake with a loud splash. Raytan threw away the oars and then also jumped into the water.
“Hold onto me,” he said while hugging her body firmly.
It was bitterly cold. It felt like the blood all over Sezh’s body had senselessly frozen over. Some of the lake water had already entered her throat, and Sezh quivered and clutched Raytan’s shoulders.
“Don’t slip. Hold me tightly.”
“Ye- yes…!” Sezh nodded her head in a frenzy.
Near the lake, right behind Philip, who shouted, Sezh spotted an unexpected individual.
Soon after, the black water of the lake began to churn roughly.
It was unbelievable. How could the tranquil lake water suddenly become like this?
Raytan bit his lips. He also noticed that the situation was strange. For the time being, Raytan only focused on holding Sezh as tightly. While still hanging onto Raytan’s neck, Sezh peered at the shore.
She didn’t see it incorrectly. Belkiel truly was there and proceeded to approach the lakeshore. Not to mention, he looked even more suspicious in Raytan’s eyes than he would to Sezh.
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When Raytan shouted Philip’s name, Philip drew his sword and pointed it at Belkiel as if he had been waiting for the signal.
“Who are you?!” Philip shouted.